Monday, April 18, 2016

My 8 week Round the World trip in First/Business Class (mostly) - Intro

The company I work at gives an 8 week sabbatical after 7 years.  You can combine it with your regular vacation.  Most people do some sort of travel + sitting around at home or doing stuff around the house or whatnot.  I actually know of 1 person who didn't do any traveling the entire 8 weeks.

Then there's me, my friends and coworkers are always asking me if I ever work since I'm always seemingly traveling even with my paltry 3 weeks of vacation per year.

There was a 4 month stretch where I went to Asia (Hong Kong, Vietnam), Europe (Czech Republic, Ireland, N. Ireland, France, Spain) and Hawaii.  I would also wonder the same thing if someone was doing that.

So when it came time for my sabbatical, I decided to travel the entire time and why not go around the world?

After much thinking and research, my final itinerary ended up being like this:

My trip, graphic courtesy of

Oct 1, 2015: SFO-PHL-BTV (Burlington, VT) on US Air domestic first class (on miles but there was only 1 first award seat, thus I flew my parents in the back, I felt a bit guilty but again they know I don't get sick up front and I think they enjoyed the east coast portion of the trip)  Ok, maybe I should have felt a lot guilty.

Then I'd drive around the Northeast, through Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine chasing the fall colors and visiting Acadia National Park, Maine and stopping in NYC for a couple of days.  Parents would fly back home, while I'd fly onward to London in...

(From here on, I'll just list the previews and do the detailed posts later)
JFK-LHR on British Airways First Class (on miles)
23hr layover in London, including staying at the Earls Court Studios (I may be the only person in the history of mankind to go from a BA First flight into the Earls Court Studios (clean enough but tiny rooms even by London, Japan, Asia, whatever standards - I could not open the door to the bathroom without squeezing the door into my luggage every time)

LHR-CDG on British Airways luxurious European Business Class (on miles)
Travel by train and rental car through the Loire Valley, visit one of my favorite places on earth, Etretat.

ORY-OSL on BA Business Class (on miles, waste of miles in retrospect), delayed luggage for 2 days

Do the Norway in a Nutshell tour

OSL-EVE on Norwegian Economy class (Paid Ticket)

Drive around the Lofoten Islands, don't get to see any Northern Lights but still definitely worth the visit

EVE-OSL on Norwegian Economy class (Paid ticket)

OSL-ATH on Aegean Economy (Paid ticket)

Get scammed in Athens, run into rude people everywhere, get asked for directions by a Greek driver, take a train to Kalampaka, visit Meteora

ATH-DOH on Qatar Business Class (on miles)

Visit the amazing brand new, just opened First Class Lounge in Doha, Qatar.

DOH-BKK on Qatar First Class on A380 (on miles)

BKK-KKC (Khon Kaen) on Thai Smiles in Economy (paid)

Help with a non-profit in the villages

KKC-BKK-HKT in Thai Smiles in Economy Plus (paid), was the only passenger up front

Taking a private boat all by myself to Koh Yao Yai island

HKT-HKG in Dragonair Economy (paid)
Mom joins me via Asiana Business/First from LAX-ICN-HKG (80,000 United miles)

HKG-TPE on Hong Kong Airlines Business (paid)

Eat the most amazing thing in Hualien, cost = $1

TPE-NRT on Japan Airlines Business (miles)

NRT-ICN in Korean Air First Class (miles)
23 hour layover in Seoul

ICN-SFO in Korean Air First Class on the new 747-8i (miles)

This will take a while to all write up.

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